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[newbie] Proper recording level?

 
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tomy



Joined: 30 Dec 2007
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 3:00 am    Post subject: [newbie] Proper recording level? Reply with quote

What's a good approach to setting the appropriate recording level?

I figure that the level meters are trying to tell me something. Does maybe yellow mean > -10db, and red mean clipped? Should I be trying to always stay in the green, even for peaks?

If, to be on the safe side, I record at a fairly low level and then use the Normalize function, am I losing anything?

Thanks in advance for any advice. And my apologies if I missed something about this in the documentation.

- Tom

P.S. I'm using Amadeus Pro to digitize some of my vinyl and cassettes. (And a friend just gave me another six feet of vinyl on the condition that I digitize about four inches of it for him.) After much reading, I settled on AP, Sound Soap and an Edirol UA-1ex for the task. (The outboard converter in part so I wouldn't suffer attenuation of the analog signal over a 20' interconnect.) I think this is going to be a fun project.
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Sonic Purity



Joined: 10 Nov 2007
Posts: 82
Location: Pasadena, California, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What's a good approach to setting the appropriate recording level?

I figure that the level meters are trying to tell me something. Does maybe yellow mean > -10db, and red mean clipped? Should I be trying to always stay in the green, even for peaks?


Looks like red = clipping. You should be in the yellow for the highest peaks of pre-recorded material. If one were doing live recording straight into Amadeus, then staying in the green would be much safer unless there is some form of peak level control.

As much as i love Amadeus (II and Pro), IMO the metering has long been one of Amadeus’ weaker attributes, to the point where i still prefer digitizing in OS 9 where i can use Coaster 1.1.3 (freeware) which has outstanding metering, which i very much wish Amadeus could either emulate or provide user options to allow for emulation. (I really wish that Martin could just borrow the code and make the Amadeus meters exactly like Coaster.) What i like about the Coaster meters:

    * Separate clipping indicators which hold for several seconds, with optional hold until manual reset
    * Separate exact numeric level indicators (actual dB numbers to 1/10 dB, and yes that can matter) with click-to-reset
    * A meaningful scale
    * (less important, yet nice) Vertical orientation of the meter bars


Quote:
If, to be on the safe side, I record at a fairly low level and then use the Normalize function, am I losing anything?


Yes: Linear PCM resolution. Higher levels implies more possible numeric values to exactly represent the waveform at that point. I attempt to digitize with as high a level below clipping as possible. When i want to spend time getting things exactly correct, i target for 0.0 to -0.3 dB (in Coaster) for the maximum peak level in either channel on an LP side, excluding clicks and pops (which can clip as much as they want, as they will be removed). For less critical work when i don’t want to sink a lot of time into precise level setting, if the maximum peak is below 0 dBFS (Full Scale… should have mentioned this above… all dB levels in this post are FS) and above, say, -2 dB, i probably will go with it to “git ’er done”.

Quote:
P.S. I'm using Amadeus Pro to digitize some of my vinyl and cassettes. (And a friend just gave me another six feet of vinyl on the condition that I digitize about four inches of it for him.) After much reading, I settled on AP, Sound Soap and an Edirol UA-1ex for the task. (The outboard converter in part so I wouldn't suffer attenuation of the analog signal over a 20' interconnect.) I think this is going to be a fun project.


Sounds like you’ve chosen some excellent products, and if it has been anything at all like my experiences, it should definitely be a fun project! I will mention that i was disappointed in the audio artifacts i heard on the demo samples for SoundSoap (yet i respect BIAS very much for providing real-world, honest samples). After years of practice, i can do better than the SoundSoap demos with Amadeus (II at the time), manually running the Repair Centre. Extremely time-consuming, though. From this forum, a few months ago i learned of ClickRepair, which does about as well as my 6 or 7 years’ experience with Amadeus (and many more years working with audio) and in massively less time, as it can be trusted to work automatically once properly set. As its documentation points out, no existing product of this type can be perfect (and neither are my manual repairs), yet it provides the most benefit and least damage of any product i have personally experienced, and makes a great partner for all the other critical work that Amadeus does so well.
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CDJonah_alt



Joined: 15 Mar 2007
Posts: 378

PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 6:51 pm    Post subject: [newbie] Proper recording level? Reply with quote

I don't know this for a fact but I have read that vinyl has only an
effective 12-bit resolution so one could easily give up 12 dB and not
notice it. (resolution plus noise).

Chuck

Sonic Purity wrote:
Quote:
Quote:
What's a good approach to setting the appropriate recording level?

I figure that the level meters are trying to tell me something. Does maybe yellow mean > -10db, and red mean clipped? Should I be trying to always stay in the green, even for peaks?



Looks like red = clipping. You should be in the yellow for the highest peaks of pre-recorded material. If one were doing live recording straight into Amadeus, then staying in the green would be much safer unless there is some form of peak level control.

As much as i love Amadeus (II and Pro), IMO the metering has long been one of Amadeus’ weaker attributes, to the point where i still prefer digitizing in OS 9 where i can use Coaster 1.1.3 (freeware) which has outstanding metering, which i very much wish Amadeus could either emulate or provide user options to allow for emulation. (I really wish that Martin could just borrow the code and make the Amadeus meters exactly like Coaster.) What i like about the Coaster meters:

* Separate clipping indicators which hold for several seconds, with optional hold until manual reset
* Separate exact numeric level indicators (actual dB numbers to 1/10 dB, and yes that can matter) with click-to-reset
* A meaningful scale
* (less important, yet nice) Vertical orientation of the meter bars




Quote:
If, to be on the safe side, I record at a fairly low level and then use the Normalize function, am I losing anything?



Yes: Linear PCM resolution. Higher levels implies more possible numeric values to exactly represent the waveform at that point. I attempt to digitize with as high a level below clipping as possible. When i want to spend time getting things exactly correct, i target for 0.0 to -0.3 dB (in Coaster) for the maximum peak level in either channel on an LP side, excluding clicks and pops (which can clip as much as they want, as they will be removed). For less critical work when i don’t want to sink a lot of time into precise level setting, if the maximum peak is below 0 dBFS (Full Scale… should have mentioned this above… all dB levels in this post are FS) and above, say, -2 dB, i probably will go with it to “git ’er done”.



Quote:
P.S. I'm using Amadeus Pro to digitize some of my vinyl and cassettes. (And a friend just gave me another six feet of vinyl on the condition that I digitize about four inches of it for him.) After much reading, I settled on AP, Sound Soap and an Edirol UA-1ex for the task. (The outboard converter in part so I wouldn't suffer attenuation of the analog signal over a 20' interconnect.) I think this is going to be a fun project.



Sounds like you’ve chosen some excellent products, and if it has been anything at all like my experiences, it should definitely be a fun project! I will mention that i was disappointed in the audio artifacts i heard on the demo samples for SoundSoap (yet i respect BIAS very much for providing real-world, honest samples). After years of practice, i can do better than the SoundSoap demos with Amadeus (II at the time), manually running the Repair Centre. Extremely time-consuming, though. From this forum, a few months ago i learned of ClickRepair, which does about as well as my 6 or 7 years’ experience with Amadeus (and many more years working with audio) and in massively less time, as it can be trusted to work automatically once properly set. As its documentation points out, no existing product of this type can be perfect (and neither are my manual repairs), yet it provides the most benefit and least damage of any product i have personally experienced, and makes a great partner
for all the other critical work that Amadeus does so well.





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rfwilmut



Joined: 17 Nov 2006
Posts: 255

PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ProLevel is a small application which runs an input level meter at the same time as your recording program (without interfering with it). It costs $20 and requires 10.4.x.

http://www.katsurashareware.com/pgs/prolevel.html

.
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tomy



Joined: 30 Dec 2007
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Sonic Purity, that's pretty much how I figured things worked. I took a quick peek at ClickRepair and will certainly take some time to see how it lines up against Sound Soap. I definitely like it's being less of a black box.

And thank you, rfwilmut, for the pointer to ProLevel. I may well pick this up, especially since it looks like something I'll be able to see across the room as I adjust the level on my converter.

I've spent that last day or so futzing around with Amadeus and some other toys -- Toast (which I finally upgraded to v.8 ), CD Spin Doctor, Sound Soap -- just getting a sense of what can do what. (And I managed to crash AP a few times; if I start doing so again, will document and report.)

Thanks again for the help. I'm sure I'll be back for more. - Tom
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